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Is Exfoliation Part of Your Skincare Routine?

Do you exfoliate? If not, do you know why? Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to acne. It also helps make your complexion more beautiful by revealing fresh new skin cells. With all of these benefits, it is important to have an exfoliation routine. Read on for a few tips and tricks about how to get started with exfoliation!

What is exfoliation and why do you need it

Exfoliation is a vital part of skin care. Why? It helps remove dead skin cells that can clog pores, which leads to acne breakouts. Plus, exfoliating your face removes dirt and oil from your daily makeup routine which prevents blackheads. The best time for exfoliation is right before bed as you sleep because this allows the natural oils to replenish overnight while you're getting all those other benefits of sleep (i.e., reduced stress, boosted immunity)!

Benefits of exfoliating your skin

Your skin will look noticeably brighter and smoother! I bet when you see the new and improved skin on your face after a few nights of exfoliating, you'll be shocked at how much younger you look.

- Skin care products absorb better into your clean pores.

- Exfoliation helps repair the appearance of damaged, dry or sunburned skin.

How to choose the right product for your needs

Choosing the right products to exfoliate your skin can be confusing. It is not a one type fits all situation. There are many different types of products on the market ranging from strong scrubs and peels to softer enzymatic peels. It is important to understand your skin and how sensitive it is to different products and processes before making it part of your skin care routine.

Some people with sensitive skin may be able to exfoliate without any problems. Others might need a lighter approach that does not irritate the skin, while others still will have to avoid anything but gentle scrubbing as they exfoliate their skin.

There are also different products for men and women's specific needs. Men can use products that are a little stronger and more abrasive because they typically don't have as sensitive skin.

Women's exfoliation routines are often a lot less aggressive than men's, but this doesn't mean that their needs should be ignored. There is an exfoliator out there for every different type of person with different types of skins."

Why does it have to be so hard?

BHAs or AHAs? Salicylic or glycolic acid? Face exfoliators are a confusing haze of scary-sounding acronyms and acids. You're told that you're supposed to exfoliate your face by every beauty blog. So what should you do?

Everyone's skin is different, but facial exfoliation is beneficial for everyone. In recent years, there have been an endless number of new skin care products, making it harder than ever to decide what to buy.

Different types of facial exfoliators

The next step is to find a product that works best for you. Here are some of the common types of exfoliators.

Physical Exfoliators

A physical exfoliator uses ingredients such as sugar or salt to form a scrubby texture. There are also facial exfoliation brushes that remove the dead skin cells from your face.

Physical exfoliators are easy to use and straightforward, but they can be rough on the skin. Choosing something that is a little too abrasive, or scrubbing too vigorously, can leave your skin red or damaged.

Chemical Exfoliators

Chemical exfoliators can be confusing, as there are many different terms and acronyms. These types of exfoliators are usually best for your face.

Chemical exfoliators work by using acids, rather than an abrasive texture. Skin cells are loosened by the acid, which dissolves bonds between them. Dead cells can then be washed away.

Chemical exfoliators, however, work differently. Let's look at some of the most  common types.


Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, are one of the two major types of chemical exfoliators.

The most significant difference between AHAs and BHAs is that AHAs are water-soluble, while  BHAs are oil-soluble. Typically, AHAs are derived from organic sugars,  such as those found in fruits or milk.

All facial exfoliators have the potential to irritate the skin, including AHAs. You need to use sunscreen daily if you use this type of exfoliator because AHAs increase your sensitivity to the sun.

Types of AHA include:

  • Glycolic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Lactic acid

Other types of AHAs exist, but these three are the most common and effective.


It's still a good idea to wear sunscreen when you use oil-soluble BHAs, beta hydroxy acids.

Apart from exfoliating, BHAs penetrate pores to help keep them clear. BHAs include only salicylic acid, while AHAs contain several acid types. (Salicylic acid is one of the most common ingredients in acne-fighting products.) However, some types of citric acid are actually BHAs,  too.

Other Chemical Exfoliators

PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) also exist in some products, but they are less common than AHAs and BHAs. If you have sensitive skin, however, PHAs may be a good choice. Although they work in much the same way as AHAs, they don't penetrate the skin as deeply.

Types of Exfoliating Products

In addition to cleansers, scrubs, serums, toners, and more, exfoliators come in many different forms. Not all of them are labeled as "exfoliators," so you'll need to shop based on the ingredient.

Choosing the type of product that you'll remember to use is more important than the type of product itself. Some products, however, offer more intensive results than others. When you leave a serum overnight, it will exfoliate more thoroughly than if you use a cleanser for only a few minutes. In some cases, you may want to use different products at different times.

Choosing the Right Ingredients

Acids each have a slightly different effect. Salicylic acid tends to dry out skin, making it ideal for oily skin but not suitable for normal or dry skin. Antimicrobial properties of glycolic acid make it a good acne-fighting AHA.

As a result of the acid concentration and other ingredients used in different products, these can also result in different effects. It is possible to use both AHAs and BHAs simultaneously. There are some products that contain both, or you can rotate between products to get  the effects you want. Just avoid using different products at the same time, as this can be too harsh for your skin.

A dermatologist can steer you in the right direction, but trial and error is often the best way to figure out what is right for you. Make sure you pick products that address your skin type and concerns, and ask for samples of those you would like to try. It's important to use sunscreen every day, and you should wait at least a day or two before trying a new product on your skin.

After trying a few products, you'll soon learn what works best for your skin, so you can look for products that contain those ingredients. Your glowy results will be well worth the effort when you find the right products.

An alternative would be to come in to Govea and we can provide a free skin analysis using a sophisticated SkinScope technology by the folks at SkinCeuticals. The Skinceuticals SkinScope LED uses UV-light visibility for more accurate diagnosis of visible as well as underlying skin imperfections using fluorescence technology that reveals these imperfections before they become more serious. Give us a call today to schedule your SkinScope consultation.